According to Truffle Specialist Finance, the second fee market will continue to grow as consumer demand and lender supply expands.

Talk to Specialized loan solutionsmanaging director of Truffle Specialist Finance James Rainbird (illustrated), said the company had a record quarter for second charges in its most recent three-month period.

He said he was “pleased with its direction of travel” in space, however, he said the company was looking to ensure it had the “right resource going forward to keep pace.” demand”.

“There is strong and growing demand in this product space, and it’s up to us to ensure we have effective resources to continue to meet that demand,” Rainbird noted.

Rainbird said this is an area of ​​growth as consumer awareness of the product increases and lenders continue to come up with new product offerings.

He also pointed to the withdrawal of other advances and mortgages as a potential “boost” for the second mortgage market.

Rainbird said it could be “very difficult” for new businesses to enter the market without “real experience and relationships with lenders”, adding that lender back-office teams could be “challenging”. .

He said the company’s underwriters were “working tirelessly” seeking consents, buyouts and building society questionnaires, and that could slow down the process as many bank employees were still working remotely.

“The volume that the banks also receive is high. You need to have a good back-office team, good CRM systems in place to make sure you get those results for the consumer and for the introducing brokers,” Rainbird noted.

He added that “strong working relationships” with lenders, surveyors and accountants were “absolutely essential”.

Rainbird continued that bridging and trading was a “key area of ​​growth for the business” and that locally it was looking to grow its premier charging and protection division as it was “actively hiring in this area”.

Based in Penarth, just outside Cardiff, Rainbird said three lenders – Lloyds, Barclays and Principality – had left the high street, giving Truffle an opportunity to fill the void.

He said Penarth was mainly made up of over-40s, professionals and a fairly affluent area, with many still keen to have ‘face-to-face’ meetings.
Rainbird said while he was always on the lookout for the “right candidates” to grow his advisory team, that needed to be balanced with back-office support.

“You can write as much business as you want, but if you don’t have the back office support and connections, you’re going to struggle. So yes, there is a balance for us between advising and underwriting,” he said.

Invest in CRM system to give brokers “accountability and better reporting”

Rainbird said it is “investing substantial funds” in a new CRM back-office system, which will “help streamline our internal process” and give “brokers some accountability and better reporting, a case tracking system also, where they can actually upload documents.”

He added that it would “minimize the amount of traffic” coming into the office, such as emails and phone calls.

“Technology is extremely important for the future of our business and for our introducing brokers as well, if we can make it more and more attractive to them. It helps in terms of reporting, incentives and customer retention – if we have more automation, it encourages our introducing brokers to stay with us,” he explained.

The affordability challenge for consumers

Rainbird said Truffle saw an increase in apps across all product areas, but was unable to place a number due to affordability concerns.

He cited several factors that impact affordability, including rising interest rates and the rising cost of living.

“We are often still able to find solutions for customers in these circumstances. This is a positive point in itself because we tell our business introducers, who have these customers, that we are able to help them place these offers,” he noted.

The company offers specialized residential first load, second load, first and second load buy-to-let, transition, capital release, development finance, commercial finance and mortgage protection services.

“Affordability has always been an issue. But, fortunately, we have lenders who are proactive, and they are always looking for ways to change their criteria so that we can continue to write contracts and that consumers have the right products.

The rebranding led to an increase in new business

Rainbird said there has been “incredible reception” from existing brokers, media and local businesses after the name change to Truffle Specialist Finance.

He said local businesses had been under the impression that the company only did second charges, unsecured loans and payday loans, but that had now changed.

Rainbird said it has seen an increase in new accounts since the change.

“I think where the business was and has come from, where we are today, certainly as an industry and as a business, the word loans has become antiquated. If we look at the range of products we offer, the word ready is not used,” he said.

“I think it was the perfect time for us to just update the brand and for it to also reflect our time in the industry, our professionalism and our commitment to the industry as well.”